Friday, May 02, 2008

Booksellers, librarians, Ritas and Susan Elizabeth Phillips

My writers group had its annual Booksellers and Librarians Appreciation Dinner recently. I've been meaning to mention it for a while, along with a few other nuggets of information, but I've been having trouble framing my thoughts.

So, I'm just going to throw framing out the window and see what happens.

"A Booksellers and Librarians Appreciation Dinner?" you might ask. "What is that?"

Well, my writers group, which is a chapter of Romance Writers of America, invites any local booksellers and librarians who are interested to a party so that the local authors can mingle with them and get to know them better. It's basic networking 101.

Booksellers and librarians are the people on the front lines who have the power to bring in new readers. They can talk up a book. They can impact a book's placement on the shelf and in the store. They can set up signing events. Basically, booksellers and librarians are an author's friend. And the better they understand the romance genre, and the better they know the local authors, the more opportunities they have to increase sales and circulation.

"But, Haley, you're not published," you so politely point out. "Why were you there? What are booksellers and librarians going to do for *you*?"

Thanks for rubbing it in.

*My* goal at the dinner was just to be social. Talk to my friends, mingle, and work toward future name recognition. Because someday, I will have a book coming out, and I want that bookseller or librarian to say, "I recognize that author's name. I'll have to make sure I stock that title."

That's the theory. I'm not sure how well I executed it. We writers tend to be introverts.

Now for a clumsy segue to my next topic, which is to congratulate Susan Gibberman, a librarian at the Schaumburg Township District Library (who is also a member of my writers group), who was named this year's RWA Librarian of the Year. It's a national award that will be presented at the Romance Writers of America annual conference in San Francisco in July. Susan was featured in the Schaumburg Review recently with a nice article about her achievement titled Romancing the librarian.

Which leads me to my next topic, which is to congratulate Jennifer Greene and Simone Elkeles, authors in my writers group who are both nominated for Rita Awards this year. The Rita is the romance industry's highest award of distinction. If you're interested in checking out what books romance authors consider the best of the best this year, check out the list of Rita finalists. It's a great launching point for exploring the romance genre.

Which leads me to my final topic, which is Susan Elizabeth Phillips, who is one of my favorite romance authors and a previous recipient of the Rita award. I spoke with her at my chapter's Booksellers and Librarians Appreciation Dinner, mentioned above, and told her that I've been noticing that my website is getting hits lately from people Googling her and looking for her newest release. She said to tell you curious fans that Natural Born Charmer was just released in paperback (it was previously released in hardback) and that her next new book is scheduled to be released in February.

OK, that's all I've got. I guess that ended with more structure than I thought.

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